LONDON (Reuters) - Chris Hoy’s tears of joy represented a defining moment of London 2012, International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Jacques Rogge said on Sunday.
Rogge also acknowledged Jamaican sprint king Usain Bolt as a “living legend” after his treble success in London replicated his success of Beijing four years ago.
“There are so many things, I have not one favorite moment,” Rogge said when asked at a news conference what it might be.
“If I would have to take one, not emotion, but a sentimental one, that would be the tears of Chris Hoy. I think that’s one of the defining moments of the Games.”
Hoy wept after clinching his sixth Olympic cycling gold medal, in the keirin, last Tuesday, ensuring Britain matched their Beijing record of seven track titles.
Rogge said many athletes had managed to write Olympic history in London, including American swimmer Michael Phelps, who became the most decorated Olympian, and Britain’s Ben Ainslie, who became the most successful Games sailor.
He also picked out Italian fencer Valentina Vezzali for racking up a sixth gold and Andy Murray for winning his first big tennis title.
“I could go on for the rest of the Games but the marathon finishes in two hours so therefore I will shorten my speech,” he said.
Rogge also mentioned the “magic stride” of Kenya’s David Rudisha who romped home to win the 800 meters in a world-record time, saying: “This was beauty in action.”
Rogge finally confirmed Bolt as a “living legend”, having appeared reluctant to do so earlier in the week.
The sprinter won an unprecedented 100 and 200 meters double at two consecutive Olympics, and anchored the Jamaican 4x100 meter relay team who retained their Beijing title in world-record time.
Rogge had suggested Bolt’s career could be judged only when it was over, comparing it with that of American Carl Lewis who competed in four consecutive Games.
“Your semantic question about a legend, I mean, this is a very semantic issue,” he said when asked what else Bolt had to do to become a living legend.
“Let me finalize this issue as follows: to say that Usain Bolt is an active-performance legend, he’s an icon, he’s the best sprinter of all times. I think that is a good qualification.”
London organizing committee (LOCOG) chairman Seb Coe described Britain’s Mo Farah as “probably the greatest runner we have produced in this country”, after he won Saturday’s 5,000 meters to go with his earlier victory in the 10,000.
“I thought Mo Farah’s race last night was superb,” Coe told the news conference.
The British public’s support and enthusiasm during the Games had been the best aspect of London 2012 for him, he said.
“The British people, day after day, have filled our stadiums and turned them into theatres of sport,” he said.
“I think for me that has been, in a way, the defining part of this two-week experience.”
Reporting by Clare Fallon